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7 Actually Good Things That Happened This Week

If we're lucky — which, frankly, we're not — we have survived the last major snow event of the season and can look forward to warmer temperatures, blue skies, and the ceremonial burning of our puffy coats. Plus, this weekend we'll spring the clocks forward, promising a much less depressing evening commute. Celebrate by enjoying these seven truly good things that happened this week.


Hero Reporter Goes to McDonald’s On-Camera

"Hey! Is it too early to get a fish sandwich?" Such was the immortal cry of Traffic Jam Jimmy — a Baltimore reporter wandering around the streets of Maryland in a car covered in cameras — who had been driving around in a snowstorm for hours on Thursday morning and was now very hungry. He went to McDonald's — which, judging from the bag already visible in the backseat of his car, he has done before — where it was in fact too early for a fish sandwich.


An Alternate History of Hillary Clinton’s Career, As Told by the Chappaqua Daily Voice

Since 2012, the Chappaqua Daily Voice has published more than 100 stories about Hillary Clinton. The articles, many of which feature a headline proudly announcing that you are about to read about "Chappaqua's Hillary Clinton," provide an alternate history of the former secretary of State's career. What if Clinton's life were not something worth prodding and poking in the national press, filled with secrets and unknowns that might ultimately influence the course of American politics? What if the highest acclaim that Clinton could achieve is being bragged about in the produce aisle of a grocery store in Westchester as a local girl who's done good for herself?

If your only source of information about the 2016 presidential race were this hyperlocal news website, one of a few dozen Daily Voice offshoots in Westchester County and Connecticut whose "target reader is 'the Main Street mom,'" fuzzy feelings of neighborhood pride are the recurring theme for all the aggregated stories about the Democratic front-runner.

For the Chappaqua Daily Voice, the only reason they cover national politics is if there is a "strong local angle," according to managing editor Joe Lombardi. "We don't write about President Obama unless he's attending a wedding in Westchester — like he did last year."

And they don't cover the Clintons unless the story concerns Chappaqua — although some other stories are just too juicy to ignore, like the revelation from earlier this week about the shadowy blue dress hidden in the background of President Clinton's presidential portrait.

This limited lens lends the little coverage that the Clintons get on this website a mostly positive aura, but this week's personal email address controversy marks a rare case in which the Daily Voice has delved into covering a national political scandal. "Locals might not care about her position on ISIS," Lombardi says, but a story about a secretive email server in the neighborhood, on the other hand, is a matter of local concern. 

In theory, anyway. "To be honest," Lombardi says, "there is a lot more interest in a story about a snowstorm or about traffic than about the Clintons. They aren't among our most read stories."

Daily Voice reporters have pondered how to cover the 2016 presidential election, and are watching to see whether the still-hypothetical Clinton campaign is considering setting up shop in one of the empty Borders bookstores in nearby Mount Kisco or White Plains. As Lombardi says, "My goodness, that would be a strong local angle."

Here is a brief and strange tour of the greatest hits of Hillary Clinton as she considers a presidential run, as determined by the Chappaqua Daily Voice. The strong local angle of these stories is often limited to a brief mention of the fact that Clinton is from Chappaqua.


Justice Department Prepared to File Corruption Charges Against Senator Bob Menendez

The Justice Department will reportedly file corruption charges against Senator Bob Menendez in the upcoming weeks, according to CNN. The expected charges stemmed from an investigation of the New Jersey Democrat's relationship with Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, a longtime donor and friend of the senator and his family. Menendez has called the investigation, which involved the DOJ and the FBI, a "smear campaign." After the federal investigation began in 2013, Menendez paid Melgen $58,000 for flights he took on the donor's private plane to the Dominican Republic. The investigation has involved several other possible instances of corruption. Given the statute of limitations on several of the potential charges, CNN reports that charges will be announced soon. 

The Weather Might Get Better Soon, But It Is All a Lie

Although most of the Northeast looks like the inside of an ice cube right now, warmth is on its way and scheduled to bring average temperatures not seen since last December. It won't be unseasonably warm, but for the first time in a long while, we'll be dealing with weather that isn't unseasonably cold, either. 

However, it will likely all be a lie, since some meteorologists predict that the freezing cold will return by mid-March. One expert told Bloomberg“There is increasing evidence for a return to a colder, stormier pattern by the last 10 days in March. I’m hoping this will conveniently go away if I stop looking at it for a couple of days.”

If this fills you with sadness and all your local happy lamp purveyors are facing shortages, here are some tips from WebMD on how to deal with never-ending winter. 

Can Hillary Clinton Manage a Presidential Campaign?

Find me one persuadable voter who agrees with HRC on the issues but will vote against her because she has a non-archival-compliant email system,” argues Democratic strategist Paul Begala, “and I’ll kiss your ass in Macy’s window and say it smells like roses.” Political scientist Brendan Nyhan likewise suggests the story about Hillary Clinton’s noncompliant email is extremely unlikely to influence her election outcomes.

It is certainly true that Clinton’s email practices do not amount to any kind of disqualifying scandal. It’s a violation of administration policy, not the law, and it’s not unique. It is also likely true that nobody will remember or care a year and a half from now; if the economy keeps creating a quarter million jobs a month between now and then, Clinton could probably win even if she turns out to have hosted her emails on a North Korean server. But all this misses the flashing red lights set off by this story.


Etsy Trying to Make Slow-Grown, Artisanal Earnings Cool on Wall Street

Twee retail bazaar Etsy is trading its hand-knit shawl for a three-piece suit. The Brooklyn-based firm has filed to go public, with Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Allen & Co. managing its initial public offering. And it has a message for potential investors: Expect those earnings to be of the hand-crafted, wholesome variety too. 

“Success will be based on strategies that evolve over years and decades, not just quarters,” Chad Dickerson, Etsy’s chief executive, said in the filing. “We are more focused on creating long-term results for us and our community than short-term results that lack that promise.” To that end, he wrote, when the company is public, it does not plan on giving quarterly or annual earnings guidance. 


Man With Firsthand Experience in D.C. Crises Starts D.C. Crisis Management Firm

After Florida Representative Trey Radel had to deal with the blinding media attention that comes along with buying cocaine from an undercover federal agent, one reporter remarked that the incident was "a case study in scandal management." Another headline noted that "Rep. Trey Radel could teach Toronto Mayor Rob Ford a few things." Apparently Radel, who resigned from Congress last year, agreed.

He announced yesterday that Trey Radel Media Group, a crisis-management and media-training firm, was now open to business. In other words, Radel, whose career was ended by bad press, is ready to become an Olivia Pope for others in need of some scandal sweeping and help dealing with bad press. 


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